WORKERS COMP – KRS 342.730(3) reduction applied to settlements in case of first impression: Bell v. Consol of Kentucky, Inc. (COA 9/4/2009)

Bell v. Consol of Kentucky, Inc.
2009-CA-000673 9/4/09 2009 WL 2830950 Released for pub.

Opinion by Senior Judge Harris; Judges Moore and Nickell concurred. The Court affirmed a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Board affirming a decision of the ALJ to reduce benefit payments by 50%, pursuant to KRS 342.730(3), after the worker died in an accident. In a case of first impression, the Court held that KRS 342.730(3) applies to settlement agreements.

The Court further held that KRS 342.265(4) and KRS 342.125 were not applicable, as the issue was how remaining benefits of an award were to be distributed to a widow after the employee’s death from a non-work related injury. The Court rejected the argument that the application of KRS 342.730(3) was contrary to public policy.

ADDED by Ky Court Report is statutory extract:

KRS 342.730(3)(a) provides:

(3) Subject to the limitations contained in subsection (4) of this section, when an employee, who has sustained disability compensable under this chapter, and who has filed, or could have timely filed, a valid claim in his lifetime, dies from causes other than the injury before the expiration of the compensable period specified, portions of the income benefits specified and unpaid at the individual’s death, whether or not accrued or due at his death, shall be paid, under an award made before or after the death, for the period specified in this section, to and for the benefit of the persons within the classes at the time of death and in the proportions and upon the conditions specified in this section and in the order named:

(a) To the widow or widower, if there is no child under the age of eighteen (18) or incapable of self- support, benefits at fifty percent (50%) of the rate specified in the award[.]

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